|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
91:9-16 Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer's conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation.
Verse 9. - Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my Refuge, even the Most High, thy Habitation; literally, for thou, O Lord, art my Refuge; thou hast made the Most High thy Dwelling place, which can scarcely be made to yield a tolerable sense. It is supposed that a word - אָמַרְתָּ- has dropped out, and that the verse originally ran thus: "Because thou hast said, Jehovah is my Refuge, and hast made the Most High thy Dwelling place" (comp. vers. l, 2). The second speaker for a second time addresses the first.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge,.... So the words, according to Kimchi, also are directed to the good man; giving the reason of his safety, because he trusts in the Lord, and puts himself under his protection: but they should rather be rendered, and the accents require such a reading, "because thou, Lord, art my refuge" (t); and so are either the words of the good man that trusts in the Lord; or rather of the psalmist himself, seeing his safety in the midst of danger, and ascribing it to the Lord; whose providence was in a peculiar manner over him, whose power protected him, and he was as an asylum or city of refuge to him; so that nothing could hurt him:
even the most High, thy habitation; it should be rendered, "thou hast made the most High thy habitation"; being an apostrophe of the psalmist to his own soul, observing the ground of his security; the most high God being made and used by him as his habitation, or dwelling place, where he dwelt, as every good man does, safely, quietly, comfortably, pleasantly, and continually: the Targum makes them to be the words of Solomon, paraphrasing them thus,
"Solomon answered, and thus he said, thou thyself, O Lord, art my confidence; in an high habitation thou hast put the house of thy majesty.''
(t) "quniam tu Domine spes mea", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; "nam tu O Jehova es receptus meus", Cocceius; so Piscator; "quia tu Domine, es perfugium meum", De Dieu, Gejerus.
The Treasury of David
9 Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Psalm 91:9, Psalm 91:10
Before expounding these verses I cannot refrain from recording a personal incident illustrating their power to soothe the heart, when they are applied by the Holy Spirit. In the year 1854, when I had scarcely been in London twelve months, the neighbourhood in which I laboured was visited by Asiatic cholera, and my congregation suffered from its inroads. Family after family summoned me to the bedside of the smitten, and almost every day I was called to visit the grave. I gave myself up with youthful ardour to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions. I became weary in body and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it. As God would have it, I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemaker's window in the Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore in a good bold handwriting these words: - "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm. The providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window I gratefully acknowledge, and in the remembrance of its marvellous power I adore the Lord my God.
The Psalmist in these verses assures the man who dwells in God that he shall be secure. Though faith claims no merit of its own, yet the Lord rewards it wherever he sees it. He who makes God his refuge shall find him a refuge; he who dwells in God shall find his dwelling protected. We must make the Lord our habitation by choosing him for our trust and rest, and then we shall receive immunity from harm; no evil shall touch us personally, and no stroke of judgment shall assail or household. The dwelling here intended by the original was only a tent, yet the frail covering would prove to be a sufficient shelter from harm of all sorts. It matters little whether our abode be a gipsy's hut or a monarch's palace if the soul has made the Most High its habitation. Get into God and you dwell in all good, and ill is banished far away. It is not because we are perfect or highly esteemed among men that we can hope for shelter in the day of evil, but because our refuge is the Eternal God, and our faith has learned to hide beneath his sheltering wing.
"For this no ill thy cause shall daunt,
No scourge thy tabernacle haunt."
It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9-12. This exemption from evil is the result of trust in God, who employs angels as ministering spirits (Heb 1:14).
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